2023 Trip Report - Tejon Ranch Tour
Tejon Ranch Tour
By Bob Jacoby • Photos: Allan Wicker and Ingo Werk
On Saturday morning, April 29, sixteen Desert Explorers met at the Quail Lake parking area on Highway 38 just about a mile and a half east of I-5. This was really the first warm day in many moons and provided the perfect backdrop for a great day of fun on the Tejon Ranch Conservancy property. This type of weather was much appreciated as the previously scheduled trips were either rained or snowed out! The Ranch itself is in a unique location halfway between Los Angeles and Bakersfield and encompasses elements of several ecosystems including the Sierras, the Mojave Desert and the Central Valley. The convergence of these areas totaling over 400 square miles makes for spectacular scenery year-round.
The access to the Conservancy is limited so we felt very fortunate to have this opportunity. The Conservancy agreed to give us a private tour of at least the high desert side of the Conservancy land. They graciously agreed to provide a docent tour for the day in their four-wheel drive vehicles. We had a total of 16 people on the trip, including some new members of the DE. The specific individuals were as follows: yours truly, Dennis George, Allan Wicker and friend, Janet and Peter Austin, Dany and Norma Siler, Randy and Victoria Mathews, Kerry Haggerty and friend Ruth Sparado, Bob and Sue Jaussaud, Shawn Daley, and Ingo Werk.
Unfortunately, the mountain pass over the Tehachapi Mountain Range was still snowed in and impassable. However, our tour of the Antelope Valley portion of the Ranch was stellar. This full day of touring had three key themes. First and foremost was the presence of wildflowers. I am not sure what the definition of a “super bloom” is but let’s just say the flowers were varied, colorful and plentiful. As I am sure you can see in some of the pictures this was a remarkable spring for anything that blooms. It was wonderful to see after the drought conditions we have experienced the last several years.
The second theme of the tour was the significant presence of animals including at least one prong horn antelope. The animal was thriving and was able to outrun our vehicles. There were many other creatures around including a very impressive snake! There is no question that the local wildlife was enjoying the Spring season like never before.
The third theme for the tour was water. We don’t usually encounter much H20 in the high desert, but this year was a major exception to that. Every creek we encountered had water overflowing. I would guess that some of these creeks hadn’t seen more than a drip of water in the last four or five years. This is one more condition that made this trip so special.
Also present on the tour were several manmade structures including a surprisingly large cement plant in the middle of nowhere. We were also treated to a tour of a dilapidated “cowboy house” that definitely had seen better days. Back in the days when the Ranch was a working cattle ranch, this was one of the places where the ranch hands lived.
All in all, this turned out to be a memorable and fun day. One of the reasons it was such a good day was also the presence of so many fellow Desert Explorers. This includes several new members who added greatly to the enjoyment of the trip. Also, I would like to commend the Conservancy docents who drove the offroad vehicles and provided us with a continuing flow of information during the tour. They invited us to come back in the Fall for a very different tour when the mountain passes should be open. We will be following up on that invitation soon. ~ Bob